AFC East Notes: Hoyer, Colon, Patriots

The Texans’ decision to move on from Brian Hoyer after one season not only marks the third straight offseason the team has jettisoned its primary starter from the previous season, but it adds a layer of intrigue to the quarterback market.

A key fixture in last year’s tepid quarterback class, Hoyer has drawn interest from the Jets, according to Albert Breer of (on Twitter). In addition to Gang Green’s interest in Hoyer, something which the Houston Chronicle’s Aaron Wilson corroborates (Twitter link), the Steelers also could be in on the 30-year-old as Ben Roethlisberger insurance.

Pittsburgh’s interest in Hoyer is interesting since the Cleveland-area native will be targeted for starting positions, with the Jets and Broncos having expressed interest. But Roethlisberger’s injuries harpooned the Steelers’ offense last season, with Big Ben missing four games and five starts in 2015. Neither Michael Vick nor Landry Jones proved to be up to the job of keeping Pittsburgh’s attack in high gear.

Hoyer didn’t enjoy a standout season but would be an upgrade over what the Jets and Broncos currently have among their respective quarterback contingents, although New York remains in prolonged talks with 2015 starter Ryan Fitzpatrick, whom the Texans acquired to replace Matt Schaub before trading him after a semi-productive 2014 showing in Houston. Houston traded Schaub to the Raiders during the previous offseason.

A two-year starter with the Browns, Hoyer threw 19 touchdown passes compared to seven interceptions in an injury-plagued 2015 season. The 19 touchdown tosses, in just nine starts, represented a career high for Hoyer, surpassing his 2014 mark (14 TD passes) compiled in 13 starts.

Hoyer’s release saves the Texans $5.015MM this year and moves Houston to $11.451MM under the cap, Wilson tweets.

Here’s some more from the AFC East.

  • Willie Colon is debating whether or not to return for an 11th season, Rich Cimini of reports. The veteran lineman played the past three seasons with the Jets, starting 38 games, but remains an unrestricted free agent. The 33-year-old guard attended D’Brickashaw Ferguson‘s retirement ceremony at the Jets’ facility but isn’t sure he’s ready to commit to another year after missing 10 games in 2015 with a season-ending knee injury. “I’m getting in shape, trying to figure it out,” Colon told Cimini. “If my knee doesn’t respond, I’m just going to hang it up. Right now, it’s about me just getting in the best shape I can and see how it goes.” The former Steelers blocker graded as Pro Football Focus’ No. 68 guard during his six games last season, and replacement Brian Winters — a former third-round pick now entering his fourth season — came in at No. 58.
  • The Patriots cutting Dominique Easley also could be signalling a move away from traditional 3-technique tackles, Mike Reiss of reports. New England also waiving Chris Jones, who also profiled as a better fit in a 4-3 scheme represents a philosophical shift back toward bigger nose tackle-type players, a source tells Reiss. The Pats’ signing of Terrance Knighton falls in line with this rejiggering of sorts. Jabaal Sheard‘s ability to rush from an inside position on passing downs contributes to the team’s thinking here, per Reiss.
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